When it comes to the Union, a small but growing cadre of Vermonters want out. Christopher Ketcham examines the rise of the Green Mountain state secessionists.
"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another… a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." -The Declaration of IndependenceIncreasingly, I have no fealty to the U.S. government. This has nothing to do with George Bush, bogeyman of the Left, the war in Iraq, or Halliburton, and everything to do with the reasonable assessment that the United States is too big for its own good. Too big in its 300 million people to be represented by 550 mostly millionaire men (not women) in a far-off swamp called Washington, D.C. I therefore have stopped calling myself a U.S. citizen.I prefer to be called a Brooklynite or a Moabite, after the two places I call home- Brooklyn, New York, and Moab, Utah-which to me are part of the same nation only in name and only by the force of outmoded institutions. In each there are unities of language and custom, sure, but the fundamental interests of the citizens are not the same. My loyalties to each place will last as long the place lasts, but the fealty is local, my interest zoned within a hundred-mile radius and certainly not tied to the abstraction known as the national interest. "There is no national interest," the historian Howard Zinn once said. Which brings me to the question of secession-the breaking-off of smaller countries from bigger countries. I am for it in the case of the United States. I am for it because I think we need to rejigger our loyalties to the needs of localities. And I am not alone in this thinking.
|\nKirkpatrick Sale at his woodpile\n|
|\nBumper stickers on Thomas Naylor's fuel-efficient Honda\n|
|I have no intention of going toCanada, or France. I want to leave this country without leaving home. And the only way to do that is secession.|
|\nIn Vermont, the local farm stand serves as the village green, a center for discussion and recreation, according to Naylor\n|
|[Secession is] the ultimate destructive rejection of the system, the strongest possible way you can say to someone like George Bush, ‘Go fuck yourself.'|
|\nLocal agriculture will help support an independent Vermont's economy\n|
|\nSecessionist T-shirts for sale at a Montpelier record store\n|
|Economically, though, Vermonthas the smallest gross state product. And the SVR concedes it is still unclear how secession would play out-legally, economically, and logistically.|
|\nThe literature of the Free Vermont Movement\n|